Iran Explosion

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Plus: Gay fallout, Lithuanian badasses, Epstein buddies, Haley chutzpah, and more…

Liz Wolfe |

Memorial blast in Iran | APAImages / Polaris/Newscom

(APAImages / Polaris/Newscom)

Mystery in Iran: Four years ago, the U.S. military killed Iran’s former top military brass, Qassem Soleimani, via drone strike. At a ceremony held yesterday to honor him, 103 people were killed and 211 were wounded by the explosion of at least two bombs.

“While Iran was quick to blame Israel, European and American officials said they doubted that the Israelis conducted the strike,” reported The New York Times. “Most of their actions against Iran have been highly targeted, from taking out the chief architect of Iran’s nuclear program to blowing up specific nuclear and missile facilities.” Experts on these types of attacks say the bombs look like they came from a terrorist group, but their provenance is still unclear.

Iran has, up until this point, not been explicitly involved in the fighting going on in the Middle East, though Iran does back Hezbollah, which has been firing at Israel from Lebanon, and the Yemeni Houthis, which have been attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea. Now, with a mystery attack on Iranian soil, it’s possible involvement will become more direct and that the situation in the Middle East will heat up.

“We tell the criminal America and Zionist regime that you will pay a very high price for the crimes you have committed and will regret it,” said Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a statement. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei refrained from blaming any country in particular, saying the blast was carried out by “malicious and criminal enemies.”

Prisoner swap: In the Ukraine-Russia War, things have been heating up in the last week: Russia has launched some of the largest strikes yet, and Ukraine hit the Russian city of Belgorod just last week. Still, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy somehow agreed to a prisoner swap: “Kyiv said 230 Ukrainian prisoners of war were returned to Ukraine, while Moscow said more than 240 Russian military personnel were released in an exchange that was mediated in part by the United Arab Emirates,” reported Axios.

Scenes from New York:  

Who cares if silly tourists shop while walking the Brooklyn Bridge? (City officials, apparently.)


  • The Houthis have attacked another ship in the Red Sea, per Bloomberg.
  • Yes:

Guns from the hardware store, dope from vending machines, speaking without bureaucrats trying to muzzle us, travel without showing papers and getting groped by goons … We can dream.

— J.D. Tuccille (@JD_Tuccille) January 3, 2024

  • New York Times editorial board writer Mara Gay went on MSNBC and called plagiarist Harvard President Claudine Gay’s (no relation) resignation an “attack on academic freedom” and “pluralism.” I am not sure The New York Times is sending us their best.
  • Other reactions to Claudine Gay’s resignation have poured in. My favorite?

“But what if we fire every academic who has ever plagiarized?”

Yes what if we fire the laziest cohort of a field that mainly produces p-hacked shovelware that no one reads. What then.

— nic ???? carter (@nic__carter) January 3, 2024

  • The former Harvard president also wrote a hilariously out-of-touch New York Times piece that calls her critics racist. I, for one, am very impressed:

Holy shit did she just actually write something herself?

— Liz Wolfe (@LizWolfeReason) January 4, 2024

  • “Crypto asset manager Grayscale Investments is in talks with firms, including JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, to potentially play a key role in its proposed Bitcoin exchange-traded fund,” reported Bloomberg.
  • A preview of former President Donald Trump’s busy January schedule.
  • “The national governing body for amateur/Olympic-style boxing recently codified a rule permitting male participation in the women’s division in its 2024 rulebook,” per National Review.
  • AI applications: helping us see maritime activity to a greater degree than ever before.
  • Putin is going after an elderly, Lithuanian, Soviet-hating badass retired judge named Kornelija Maceviciene.
  • Tyler Cowen tackles “the rate of return on exercise” over at Marginal Revolution.
  • The just-unsealed Epstein documents contain a fair number of Bill Clinton mentions.
  • Now I like her!

Nikki Haley renamed her husband

— Andrew Prokop (@awprokop) January 3, 2024

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